the ongoing diaper quest

Remember how I made my own wool diaper covers? Well, they work . . . alright at best. I obviously have somethings to learn about crafting my own wool diapers. So I caved and bought two ‘one size’ wool diaper covers from Little Beetle from Tiny Bird Organics. A green one and an orange one. Eventually I want a blue one but they are quite expensive. . . A friend put it to me this way – how much longer do I have of diapering Jude (at least a year, if not more) and how much more money would I be spending on disposables over time (a lot more than $80)? Obviously this, paired with the fact that I sold the other diapers, made it a worthwhile purchase. I figured two should be enough to get us back into the cloth diapering routine and they will help me better figure out how to make my own.

Happy Wool Diaper Baby

Let me start by saying that I LOVE these diapers. They work amazingly well. I do have to change the prefolds more frequently to keep the diapers from leaking, but that adds maybe two extra changes throughout the day. My one struggle is that they do not last through the night. I don’t know if I need to add a soaker or buy some knitted wool longies for night time use. I’m going to either teach myself to knit, or buy some on etsy. Probably the latter. 🙂 I did also buy a sock monkey diaper on etsy that has the PUL waterproofing layer sandwiched between the natural fibers. I haven’t tested it out yet, but it is similar to a disposable, so I’m thinking it could be a good babysitter diaper. I may be buying a few more of those. . .

Cool things I’ve learned about these wool diapers:

  • Urine + lanoline (natural waterproofing in wool) = soap. Incredible. You don’t have to wash the diapers when they get wet. You lay them out and let them dry. Sounds gross, but they don’t smell, at all! I will have to periodically rinse and lanolize the diapers. About every two weeks is recommended.
  • Two diapers is enough to get you by. Maybe not as convenient as having more, but not bad.
  • They are not near as itchy as I had imagined.
  • I feel like I’ve confirmed Jude’s polyester allergy. Our cloth swim diaper has polyester and we’ve been doing a lot of swimming lately. When I change him back to his prefold diaper, that familar rash starts to pop up, even wearing the swimmi for less than an hour. Not so with the wool diapers. Rash clears up and stays away. Hooray!

Onto the mistakes that I have learned that I made in making my own diapers. First off, I used the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater as the front of the wrap style diaper cover. Too stretchy. The tabbed stretched out so far that the waistband is now too big for Jude’s waist. Secondly, it seems that they need to have more than one layer. The Little Beetles have interior and exterior wool layers. I think I could mimic this pretty easily. I’m also wondering if I don’t need to wash the sweaters in hot water before I make them into diaper covers. One of my problems was the that sweaters shrunk up so small that I could barely get the length I needed out of them! I’m thinking it’s time to hit the thrift store with the new information I know about wool diapers and give diaper making another try.

Thanks to all of you for your help keeping me cloth diapering! I’m so happy that we’re on the right path again!

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Neiman Marcus Cookies

You may remember a certain fictitious e-mail regarding Neiman Marcus cookies circulating through e-mail back in the mid 90s. Years ago, I made these cookies and they are delicious, I would like to make them again. But that’s not the point of this post. The point is that Neiman Marcus has a different cookie recipe on their website that is their signature chocolate chip cookie. That was enough to entice me to try it.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

We had the ingredients on hand to whip a batch of these up (sadly, only 24 cookies and they went FAST) and we baked them off. The addition of the instant espresso powder is perfect. It is barely detectable when the cookies are warm but develops into a bit of ‘je ne sais quoi’ when they cool.

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think Jason was especially appreciative of these cookies as they were simple chocolate chip cookies. No nuts, nothing else, except for that tiny hint of coffee flavor that just amplifies the chocolatey goodness. I can certainly see why these cookies are the staple chocolate chip cookie for Neiman Marcus’ cafe.

Recipe for Neiman Marcus Cookies

oven chicken risotto

Thank you to all of you who offered up your recipes in exchange for a chance to win the bibs and burp rags. There are some true gems in there! The first one I tried was this oven chicken risotto. It was offered up by my high school friend, Anne, who has been making this recipe for all her friends that have recently been having babies. I truly appreciate how little prep was involved in this recipe, not to mention the fairly short list of ingredients and none of the time spent over the stove stirring risotto the way it is traditionally made. It is summery and fresh, which is sometimes hard to do with risotto. I usually think of it as a winter dish, warm, creamy and comforting. The addition of the grape tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella lighten it up significantly. I went ahead and roasted my own chicken as a separate meal so that I could make stock with the bones and use the leftover meat for this meal. A great way to stretch a dollar. The results were fantastic.

Creamy Chicken Risotto

If you have any experience with risotto, you know that it doesn’t reheat well the next day. But that shouldn’t stop you from utilizing the leftovers the next day! I took the leftover risotto and formed it into disks, breaded it in some breadcrumbs and sauteed it off in a little bit of olive oil. I think I may have liked it better the second day (although it was delicious the first day as well)! The crunchy outside and the creamy inside. . . yuuum.

Creamy Chicken Risotto Cakes

Even if you have never made risotto before, this recipe is fail safe. Give it a shot! It doesn’t get much easier than this!

Recipe for Oven Chicken Risotto

A new phase is beginning.

Jude is almost a year old and I always said that once we hit that milestone, I would begin to wean him since it’s acceptable for him to drink whole milk. It’s been on my mind more frequently lately since pumping doesn’t seem to work for me any longer (I only get an ounce at most! What a change from the beginning!). I have talked about how weaning would give me so much freedom. We could finally leave him with someone over night, I wouldn’t have to be there with him when he woke up in the morning to feed him. I could fully have my body back, albeit in an altered state. It all sounded so amazing. Not to mention how I initially thought it would be weird to nurse my little one as he got bigger. . .

And now one year is almost upon us and I am struggling. We have started to introduce him to whole milk and he seems to enjoy it. In fact, it’s been used several times to put him to sleep at night, with no problem. And it almost makes me sad. I never thought I would say it but I am going to miss breastfeeding. I never would have guessed this to be my reaction in the early days, when it felt like such a struggle, an inconvenience. But now, I pick him up in the morning and we snuggle and giggle while he eats. It’s really the only time that he willingly stay still and cuddle for an extended amount of time. Once this stops, we won’t have these moments of quiet, snuggles and giggling. He won’t fall asleep in my arms any longer and I am going to miss seeing his sweet sleeping face drawn in near to me. It makes my heart a little sad to think of life without these things.

I do recognize that it’s an option to continue breastfeeding, many people do, but I know that it’s time for us to move on. There are selfish reasons involved (so tired of my nursing bras and I would love a weekend away) and practical (other people being able to put him to sleep, no more worries about getting bitten). In my heart, I know that this is the right decision for us. But until the weaning is complete, I will be treasuring these quiet moments with him while I still have them. Holding on to the last lingering memories of my baby before he fully turns into a little boy.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

The first ice cream I tried from Cooking Light’s ice cream recipes was just ok – too sweet. You would think I would have learned from that! I think you guys know my propensity for salted sweets by now, so I was sucked into this recipe pretty easily. Again, it was good but would have been better if it wasn’t quite as sweet! And maybe a little less salted. That being said, Jason, who doesn’t like salted sweets, couldn’t stop eating it once he got started. He said it was surprisingly addicting. So take that for what it’s worth. 🙂

Recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

4 years ago today . . .

I got married to the love of my life. Happy anniversary my love.

The song is “I Love You Much” by our good friend Justin Caldwell – written for our wedding day and inspired by the e.e. cummings poem.

fruits from the garden

Just a quick photo update! My patio tomatoes are starting to produce a bunch of fruit:

Patio Tomatoes

And so are my little yellow pear tomatoes:
Yellow Pear Tomatoes

The zucchini is taking over, but also providing many growing veggies:
Zucchini

And my blackberry plant is fully leafed out! Yay!
Blackberry Plant